Niese's pitching bad, baserunning worse

New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese delivers to New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese delivers to the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Washington. (July 31, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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WASHINGTON -- Jonathon Niese felt bad enough about serving up the three consecutive doubles that helped decide Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Nationals. But it was his brain lock on the bases earlier in the game that defused a rally and cost the Mets at least one run.

After Daniel Murphy's one-out single loaded the bases in the third, David Wright hit a fly ball to rightfield. The initial plan was for Niese to tag up from third base, and Murphy would do his best to draw the cutoff throw to make sure the run scored.

Murphy did his part, but Niese aborted his dash for the plate. As a result, Murphy wound up getting caught off first base for an inning-ending double play.

"I had it in my head that I was scoring the whole time," Niese said. "I probably could have scored, but my instincts told me to shut it down. I'm not a very good baserunner, as you can see. It's my fault. Murphy was doing his job."

Even so, Murphy thought he could have been a little more alert. "I've got to run with my head up," he said. "I got too far off the bag."

Murphy did make a great defensive play to prolong the game in the ninth. With two Nats on base, he scooped Brian Bixler's bunt on a sprint, spun 360 degrees and delivered a perfect strike to get the lead runner at third.

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Parnell turns ankle

Bobby Parnell took his second loss of the trip with a rocky ninth that set up the winning run for the Nats on a hit batsman, a wild pitch and an infield single. He also twisted his left ankle rushing after Bixler's bunt and later couldn't jump high enough to grab Ian Desmond's chopper, which decided the game. Parnell got his glove on it, but that slowed it too much for Willie Harris, whose throw to the plate was late. Parnell said the ankle will be OK.

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